For me, maybe being an idealist, I’d like to think of Bachelor’s Day as less about folklore and more about women taking control of their sexuality.

Leap Day, also known as Ladies’ Privilege day, is celebrated on 29th February.

The Irish tradition was introduced to allow women to propose marriage and initiate dances on Leap Day. If a man refused a proposal, he would then have to purchase a silk gown or fur coat for his suitor in gratitude.

The legend descends from the 5th century and a tale of two saints – Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid.

Saint Brigid expressed her dismay at how long women should have to wait for a suitor to propose to them. Saint Patrick decided to grant Saint Brigid – and all women – a chance to propose to their potential suitors, once every four years, on a leap year.


THIS IS WHY GIRLS NEED TO MAKE THE FIRST MOVE! i’ll b paying for dinner on friday bc he paid this time 🙂 #fyp #storytime #dinner #men #yummy

♬ original sound – rachel thornley

Alternative stories

A different version of the tale says Saint Brigid herself got down on one knee that very day. Although Patrick politely declined, he offered a silk gown in condolence. The veracity of this version is questionable as Brigid was only 10 when Saint Patrick died in 461 AD.

In Scotland in 1288, women were given the right to propose on February 29th, supposedly by Queen Margaret who was unmarried, and apparently loved red petticoats. This was one of the rules for proposing. In Scottish tradition, a kiss or a pair of gloves were adequate payment for refusing a proposal. A suitable gift to hide the embarrassment of being an unmarried woman.

Stigma remains

Despite attitudes towards sex and relationships evolving rapidly over the last few decades, there is still stigma attached to women initiating romantic relationships. But research suggests relationships stand a better chance when women make the first move.

A study by The League, an invite only dating app, found that one in three successful relationships formed on the app were initiated by women. According to MensHealth, ‘men love it when women make the first move’, possibly because men are complimented less than women by the opposite sex, as well as their own.

So ladies grab your red petticoats. Even if 2022 isn’t a leap year it’s definitely not the year of pick me. Get grafting girls.

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